• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The poem "Futility" by Wilfred Owen deals with the speaker's desperation after the experience of death on the battlefield which leads him to question the sense of life as well as sense of creation in general.

Extracts from this document...


Essay on Wilfred Owen, Futility The poem "Futility" by Wilfred Owen deals with the speaker's desperation after the experience of death on the battlefield which leads him to question the sense of life as well as sense of creation in general. At the beginning the whole situation is indistinct for the reader. The verbal indistinctness points to the role the poem attributes by using only words of someone who is immediately involved in the situation and afflicted by it. The reader has to try to infer, to try to understand the speaker's inside and outside situation, see through his verbal reaction to understand it. With the imperative of "Move him into the sun-" (I,1) the speaker starts his speech by addressing those who are with him, to continue -after a pause- speaking to himself. Those who are addressed are around him, they know the situation as well as he himself does, so that he is able to leave the situation indistinct, avoid explicit wording. This switch of the addressees, from those who are around him to himself already indicates two levels that will be dealt with throughout the whole poem: the factual language of the imperative "Move" (I,1) ...read more.


This desperate attempt marks the strongest contrast to reality and shows how the speaker fails to understand what has happened and turns to the sun instead. The change of rhythm in line 5 shows the return to the present situation: the situation seems to enter the speaker's mind, also indicated by expressions like "this morning" (I,5) or "this snow" (I,5), which shows that he suddenly sees what he is confronted with, but also suddenly seems to understand what it means: the circle of life and growth which hopefully began on "fields unsown", now ends with snow. The speaker still tries to reject it by avoiding explicit words but nevertheless it has entered his mind. He is now isolated, realises and slowly finds his way back to reality. He stops denying, indicated by "might", showing that only a weak hope is left. The second stanza starts with a direct address of the listeners- the encouragement to "Think" (II,1), followed again by a pause, after which the speaker once again recalls the past (II, 2-5). But this time, the speaker turns to the universal proofs of the sun's power in creation of life. ...read more.


viewing at creation in general in the light of the situation: the question of the reason for creation in general after the experience of the taking and wasting of life in war and the futile attempts in the first stanza to move the life giving power to change this. While in the first stanza, the speaker has been trying to delude himself to the belief in the power of the sun, as well as to an escape to the memories of the past, the second stanza mirrors the futility of his attempts. He loses control as well as the ability to make sense of what has happened. He realises that the past cannot have any impact on the present. The three emotional questions revel his growing doubts as well as his increasing contempt of creation which seems to have been created for destruction only. After the experience of the "futility" of all of his attempts, the final outcry seems to be a culmination: Since war wilfully interrupts the circle of constant natural renewal and re- awakening and is able to enter the circle at any point, it makes "toil" of the creator, which raises the question of reason for creation in general, which seems to be "futile" anyway. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Wilfred Owen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Wilfred Owen essays

  1. Compare and Contrast the Presentations of the Individuals in Conflict with Society in ...

    society: "Breakdown was nothing to be ashamed of, that horror and fear were inevitable responses to the trauma of war" Rivers uses these words to assure himself and his patients that they should not feel they are doing anything unnatural.

  2. Compare the presentation of changing and contrasting attitudes throughout the First World War through ...

    is one writer's interpretation of a war seen through sources and not actually experienced. At the beginning of the First World War many newly requited soldiers were attracted by the romantic image of what it meant to be a soldier.

  1. Three poems by Wilfred Owen.

    The exclamation marks show the surprise and incredulity of the caller along with his warning. The "ecstasy", again using onomatopoeia with "S" sounds, "of fumbling" describes the chaos and panic that the men would experience as they attempt to use protective clothing before the gas reaches them.

  2. How important is landscape in some of the literature you have studied on the ...

    The poem, 'The soldier' by Rupert Brooke shows landscape as something the soldiers are willing to die for.' That there's some corner of a foreign filed that is forever England.' This illustrates the landscape that represents England. The landscape is important to be shown as picturesque and something to believe in and die for.

  1. Compare William Makepeace Thackeray's 'The Due of the Dead' and Sir Henry Newbolt's 'Vitai ...

    ironically plagued an indoctrinated English public during the initial stages of the First World War. In retrospect, the motivational 'voice of a schoolboy' that 'rallies the ranks' in the face of a 'river of death' clearly contains a hollow

  2. The management issues that Robert Owen was dealing with at Lanark

    To further try and improve living and working conditions Robert Owen introduced a system of local government where fines were handed out for drunkenness, and silent monitors were used within the factory. The main idea of these 'laws' was to try and reflect Owens moral standards, which would hopefully influence the workers.

  1. A critical appreciation of the poem 'Exposure'

    lost that they admit that their love for God is failing them. This is understandable because throughout the poem up to that point, God is evoking pain in order to test them. Although, it is interesting that it is only when they are so close to dying themselves that they feel God's love is dying.

  2. TMA 1 Read Wilfred Owens Dulce et Decorum Est then answer the following ...

    I believe the narrator is attempting to rekindle a value and respect for human life which was lost during the First World War.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work